Holi festival of India is probably the most famous and playful celebration that attracts the most attention. Mobs of merrymakers smearing bright colored powders or Gulaal on each other and passionately dancing and singing is not just a sight to behold, but a gathering which you desperately want to be a part of. The good news is that Holi 2024 is just around the corner, and finally, you can unleash the crazy in you during the Holi celebrations.
Holi in India is celebrated for many different reasons in different parts. At some places, it is a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu mythology, and at some places, it is a festival to celebrate the good harvest and fertility of the land, but the one thing that remains the same; is the unlimited fun and happy images of people plastering each other with Gulaal.
Here, we have compiled a list of places where you can indulge in the best Holi celebrations in India. Keep reading till the end, and let us know where you will be celebrating Holi in 2024.
Vrindavan is the epicenter of the Holi celebrations in India as it is the place where Lord Krishna grew up and started this colorful ritual. According to the legends, Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion and threw colors on her to even the score. The Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan is the hot spot where the most amazing celebrations take place. This is the place where those pictures of people covered in purple, pink, and red Gulaal were taken which you may have seen on Instagram.
Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna which gives serious competition to Vrindavan in Holi celebrations. People from the nearby villages travel to Mathura in their open-backed bullock carts and lorries just to celebrate the festival of colors. The Dwarkadheesh temple is the main gathering point during Holi as a huge crowd of people comes in the morning to sing, dance, and chant under the clouds of Gulaal. The locals indulge in the festivities almost 40 days before the before Holi. Don’t be surprised if someone throws a bucket full of colored water on you, just chant Radhe-Radhe and have fun!
The Holi celebrations in Barsana are quite different from Vrindavan and Mathura. The boys from Nandgaon approach the main Krishna Temple in Barsana in the afternoon of Holi until the ladies of Barsana block their way with heavy wooden sticks in their hands. The group of women then reign down on the men’s special leather shield - a spectacle that is worth a visit to Barsana and Nandgaon. This unusual but fun ritual is called ‘Lathmar Holi’ - ‘Lath’ means the wooden stick and ‘Mar’ means to hit.
Until 2012, the Holi celebrations in Jaipur used to be dominated by an elephant procession, led by the Maharaja of Jaipur swaying atop a giant tusker in his gilded howdah. This event has been banned due to concerns over animal welfare but, Jaipur still manages to remain a Holi hotspot. The big gala hosted by the royal family of Jaipur in aid of local charities is one of the main attractions during Holi. The Khasa Kothi Hotel organizes the chicest Holi parties of all with the traditional Rajasthani folk music, dance performances, and Gulal play. For a more devotional atmosphere, you can head to Govind Dev Ji Temple at the heart of the City Palace, where Krishna and Radha idols are heaped with marigolds and serenaded with spiritual Holi bhajans.